SRSG, as your informative briefing and the SG’s report clearly shows, the security situation in certain parts of eastern DRC is, regrettably, deteriorating- in particular as a result of confrontations between the M23, and FARDC. ADF, CODECO and other armed groups also remain a constant threat to civilians. We are deeply concerned about these attacks.
We are also concerned about the resurgence of hate speech and incitement of violence in the wider Great Lakes region. Along with repeated acts of violence reportedly carried out over the past few weeks against Rwando-phone population groups in the DRC.
The state of siege has been one tool to address the security threats, but the intended results do not seem to have materialised. The fighting in the east is picking up regardless-
And reports show that abuses and violations of human rights and violations of international humanitarian law continue. We are particularly concerned by the reported dramatic increase in cases of sexual violence.
Norway urges all stakeholders to carefully evaluate the benefits of the state of siege before proceeding with additional extensions. We reiterate that all civilians, including children, must be protected. We also reiterate that all countries must respect the sovereignty of the DRC.
Norway encourages continuous engagement between Congolese authorities, armed groups, and regional stakeholders through the ‘Conclaves of the East African Community Heads of State’, and the ICGLR. We encourage the inclusion of all relevant stakeholders in this process, including civil society, women, and youth. And we also welcome the participation of additional armed groups. This may ultimately reduce the security threat to civilians in eastern DRC.
We encourage further engagement by Special Envoy Xia and SRSG Keita to reduce tensions in the region. And we commend the seven EAC Heads of State for their leadership in the process. It is important that the Nairobi process supports the DDR-CS programme in the DRC. And with regards to the proposed deployment of an EAC regional force to eastern DRC- Norway would like to underline the need for thorough coordination with MONUSCO, and other actors on the ground.
A new milestone will be reached when MONUSCO draws down from the Tanganyika province this month. For years, MONUSCO has contributed towards stability and increased security and protection of civilians in this province.
In the post-drawdown period, it will be important to safeguard the gains made, and draw upon lessons learned. Furthermore, Congolese authorities and the UN system must be ready to take over certain tasks when MONUSCO leaves. I would, in that regard, underline the importance of transparency, and communication between all relevant actors.
Norway stands ready to work with all stakeholders for a sustainable, and responsible re-calibration of MONUSCO. And for peace in the DRC.